WASHINGTON — In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there.
The rulings leave in place laws banning same-sex marriage around the nation, and the court declined to say whether there was a constitutional right to such unions. But in clearing the way for same-sex marriage in California, the nation’s most populous state, the court effectively increased to 13 the number of states that allow it.
The decisions will only intensify the fast-moving debate over same-sex marriage, and the clash in the Supreme Court reflected the one around the nation. In the hushed courtroom Wednesday morning, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced the majority opinion striking down the federal law in a stately tone that indicated he was delivering a civil rights landmark. After he finished, he sat stonily, looking straight ahead, while Justice Antonin Scalia unleashed a cutting dissent.
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that it would implement the Article 6 of the Constitution in the Pervez Musharraf treason case even if the sky falls.
The grim ruling came during the hearing of a set of identical petitions by a three-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Jawad S. Khawaja, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan.
The petitions seek the trial of former President Gen. (retd) Pervez Musharraf for high treason for abrogating the Constitution.The apex court observed that hearing into the instant case would not be a futile exercise but would be decided in accordance with the law.
“There is no question of futility and the case would be decided in accordance with the law,” remarked Justice Khawaja while responding to Musharraf’s counsel Ahmed Raza Kasuri.
He further remarked that under the law, Secretary Ministry of Interior had to lodge a complaint against Musharraf under the Article 6 of Constitution read with High Treason (Punishment) Act 1973 for subverting or abrogating the Constitution.
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked that if those responsible for fulfilling their responsibilities failed, the court would do it accordingly.
The Supreme Court (SC) has spoken and the nation must bow its head. The chief justice has asked members of the bar to pray for the judiciary. This too must be respected, as the Almighty alone can rescue those who wish to destroy themselves.
There is open friction between the ruling party and the court. By not restoring the SC judges earlier and letting Justice Dogar run amok with the law, the government lost face.
LHC issues notice to Asif Zardari in dual office case
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday issued a notice to President Asif Ali Zardari during the hearing in the dual office case.
The legal challenge to Zardari over his two posts does not pose an immediate threat to the president but it is a reminder of the legal difficulties he faces, legal analysts said.
The Pakistan Lawyers Forum (PLF) filed a petition, or a challenge, questioning the right of the president to hold the two offices and in response, the High Court in the city of Lahore ordered Zardari’s principal secretary to explain.
“Since the president could not appear because of security reasons, the court asked his principal secretary to appear in court on May 25,” PLF president A.K. Dogar told reporters outside the court.
There is no constitutional bar on the president holding office in a political party but Dogar said the Supreme Court had in the past barred a president from holding a party post.
“Our Supreme Court judges decided in 1993 that the president should be non-partisan. He should not involve himself in political battles. He should shun politics but here he is a party head, which is illegal,” he said.
Hearing in the dual office case was then adjourned till May 27.
During the session of the Parliament on Feb 15, 2010, Prime Minister, Yousaf Raz Gilani said the Judges including chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry were restored on executive order and the Restoration of the Judges should be endorsed through the Parliament. [To read report at BBC urdu, click here]
Prime Minister’s Speech in Assembly – Feb 15th 2010
LAHORE: The legal fraternity of the country remained divided over its views on the Supreme Court’s suspension of the presidential appointment of two top judges in an emergency ruling late on Saturday. Former Supreme Court Bar Association, SCBA president Ali Ahmed Kurd said the principle had been set by the SC verdict in the Al-Jihad Trust case that the senior most judge of a high court would be elevated to the Supreme Court. Barrister Zafar Ali Khan and former SC judge Fakhruddin Ebrahim also termed the president’s decision as being in accordance with the constitution. Prominent jurist Fawad Chaudhry said the president’s decision was in accordance with the constitution. He said according to Article 206 of the constitution, the judge stood as “retired” after refusing to accept the decision of elevation. People Lawyers Forum leaders Tanvir Hashmi and Rana Sufiyan Ali said the president’s decision was in accordance with the constitution and the SC verdict in the Al-Jehad Trust case.However, former Punjab advocate general Ashtar Ausaf said the president’s decision is unconstitutional as he acted against the CJP’s recommendations. Senior lawyer Dr Khalid Ranjha said a “vacuum is being deliberately created” to pave the way for third party interference.
Alarming indeed. Yesterday, chief sahib was sitting with Zardari with his arm on the back of the chair. He USED to sit with both hands squeezed between his thighs. In astrological circles, this is regarded as a very bad sign….
Having said that, I dont think much will change for the vast majority of our people even if chief sahib makes a move. The crisis is systemic and will continue. If the PPP had managed more political change, then the relapse into military rule would have been a huge disaster. As it is, they have not really been able to grab the initiative at all. Since we havent moved FORWARD as much as was needed, the setback may also be less of a change. People inside the country will be able to give a more accurate reading of the situation..
In any case, there is a fair amount of development work going on in infrastructure now and its financed and monitored by outside powers, so its likely to continue. IF chief saheb makes his move, then there will be fewer sindhis and more brigadiers trying to get in the way of the people actually doing the work.
The transformation from Jihadi state to normal country will be pushed back a bit, but with Anne Patterson sahiba keeping an eye on things, who knows, even that may not change much either way….
ISLAMABAD: Senior lawyer of the Supreme Court Abdul Hafeez Pirzada on Wednesday said the apex court could call the Army for help in getting its verdict implemented. He said the Army was a part of the executive and was bound to obey the court’s order under Article 190 of the Constitution.
Saeed Ulzaman Sidiqui became Chief Justice after the illicit firing of Sajad Shah (who was a Sindhi) and was a collaborator of Nawaz Sharif in that firing. The discussion provides a lot of detail about the history of justice and rule in Pakistan. Indeed, a comment made in the discussion that Pakistan is probably the only country in the world where might is always right is enshrined in the law. I would recommend this video to all those who are always in the pursuit of truth and finding out the role and character of those who today claim to be champions of democracy and justice.
Now that the NRO problem has apparently been resolved people are jumping with joy. There are some commentators who believe that this represents the strengthening of the system and democracy, that the Supreme Court verdict is a warning for presumptuous, overly ambitious and corrupt politicians.
The decision certainly is a milestone, but what does it mean for the overall learning process of the various stakeholders in the country’s power politics? And will it influence the future of Pakistan’s politics? These are two basic points to ponder.
Although it can be argued that the NRO was always controversial and people were eager to sort the matter out soon after it came into existence, there was always the possibility of the issue getting sidelined due to workable political arrangements.
Real Test: Supreme Court, High courts non-Shariah institutions: Maulana Sufi Mohammad by Iqbal Tareen, USA
The writer can be reached at email@example.com Here is a real test of everyone on the left, right, center, in the government, in opposition, in judiciary, members of civil society, men in black, human rights advocates, and Pakistani Diaspora. Either you are against this kind of madness or you are part of it. There is no high road to heaven. Very soon all those who are undecided or they are on the periphery of this issue will be forced into retirements. When the battle between Millat and Umma heats up the lines will be drawn in the sand. We just can’t stick to our wish lists. These guys are forcing people of Pakistan to choose between Pakistan zinda abad and Islam zinda abad.
by Manzoor shaikh, Karachi Its a triumph of Pakistan or Punjab, would be proved by the way the Supreme Court and PML – N would function in the weeks to come. Good change must be welcome but one should not forget that only one pillar of the state could not bring about the change in Pakistan. It also creates a risk of creating imbalance between the pillars of state. so be mindful and keep illusions at bay.
It is indeed a sad day for democracy and justice in Pakistan. Even though the policies of PML-N in general and Nawaz Sharif in particular have been anti-Sindhi and anti-provincial autonomy, the recent actions by the controversial judges of the Pakistan Supreme Court and subsequent imposition of Governor’s rule in Punjab should be unfit.
Taking one step forward to restore democracy and justice in Pakistan and two steps back does not bode well for the future of Pakistan. The same politics of agitation and supressing opposition of yester years continues to prevail, bringing Pakistan one step closer to becoming a failed state.
Feb 26, 2009
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